Donkey Kong

aka: DK, Donkey Kong-e
Moby ID: 574

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 68% (based on 57 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.4 out of 5 (based on 363 ratings with 8 reviews)

You Can't Go Wrong With Donkey Kong, But....

The Good
(Note: This is for the 2004 "NES Classics" version, not the e-Reader card.)

Donkey Kong remains a timeless classic, as well as the launching point for two of Nintendo's biggest stars: Mario and Donkey Kong. So much has been said about the Donkey Kong arcade game, that it's simply one of gaming's biggest legends. It's a fun game with catchy music, memorable characters, fun animations and lots of challenge. Simply put, the game has stood the test of time, and remains as fun to play now as it was then.

The GBA version also saves your high score, so that's something also to be noted.

The Bad
That said, here lies one of the biggest mysteries the NES ever created: Why, oh why, could the system brought us the "Super Mario Bros." and "Legend of Zelda" series, simply not give us the Pie Factory level? Why is it missing animations and in-between screens? I can understand the older systems like the ColecoVision and Atari 2600, but not the NES. And why am I criticizing the NES version when I am reviewing the GBA version? Because the "NES Classics" version is a straight port of that version.

This means no "How High Can You Go" screens, no opening Donkey Kong climb to the top of the first level, and no Pie Factory. The NES was capable of producing huge, in-depth games. They made a lot of cuts with their flagship title, and this GBA port carries every single glaring flaw. In some ways, I wish Nintendo would have just simply cheated and had given us the full game when they brought it over to the GBA.

The Bottom Line
Again, "Donkey Kong" still remains a lot of fun, but don't expect the complete experience, or you'll be sorely disappointed. The full version is something of a console rarity as it stands as only the original Game Boy remake and the hidden game in "Donkey Kong 64" are the only recent titles to house the full experience.

The GBA version is cheap fun for its $15-$20 price tag, so while it's still recommended to people who want to enjoy the game on the go, but be forewarned as to what you're getting into. "Donkey Kong" enthusiasts, step right up. "Donkey Kong" purists, you have been warned....

Game Boy Advance · by Guy Chapman (1748) · 2004

Good port, but the NES and Game Boy Advance versions are better.

The Good
When you think of Nintendo, what comes to mind? Probably Mario or Donkey Kong would to come to mind. They made their first appearance in the 1981 arcade game, Donkey Kong. After it's success in the arcades, it was ported to as many home consoles and home computers you could think of. All of the ports of the game I played are enjoyable. The Atari 2600 version is just like the other ones. I have a lot of fun playing this port. The graphics are pretty cool (I still think Atari 2600 graphics look cool.). The game is easy and simple. Its one those games that you can just pick up and play. The increased difficulty as the game goes on is also a nice challenge.

The Bad
As I said before, the graphics look pretty cool. Mario,and Pauline look pretty good. But Donkey Kong dosen't look all that well. He is just dark brown all over his body. Could they have bothered to add a blob of a light brown colored pixel on his chest? I'm Donkey Kong dosen't look so well because I'm pretty sure the 2600's color palette was limited. Another disappointment is that there are only TWO levels. The arcade version had four. You could pretty much beat the game every time you play it.

The Bottom Line
But, overall, this is a enjoyable port of the arcade version that's cheap and easy to find. But, if your looking for a better version, I would recommend the NES or Game Boy Advance version.

Atari 2600 · by Jake Lewis (2) · 2011

A pale imitation, but there's still some fun to be had.

The Good
For all it's faults, this version of Donkey Kong has it where it really counts: the gameplay is solid, authentic, and fun. Jumping barrels, climbing ladders, pulling rivets, dodging fireballs, smashing things with a hammer - in the two levels presented, it's all there, but don't expect much more.

The Bad
Donkey Kong really deserved so much more. If this was an original platformer, or an obscure port, this would have a well-deserved place among the better 2600 games. But it has to measure up as Donkey Kong, and it just doesn't: First, the barebones nature of the game: no music, no title screen, none of the cut-scene intermissions or intros. Next, the graphics - is that really supposed to be Donkey Kong? Looks more like a sock puppet! And are those fireballs? I don't think so! More like strange ghosts.
And where's the sound? The iconic music? All you get is the squeaky shoes, a jump noise, and two goofy licks: one for when you die and one that plays when you beat a level and when your game is over. More substantially, of the four levels, only two (!) have made it to this version: the barrel level and the rivets level. And the game starts out easy and stays easy. For a long time. If you have the stamina and patience, it does eventually become harder.

The Bottom Line
This version of Donkey Kong is ok, considering the limitations of the 2600 - but it could have been much better. It's a fun game if you can overlook it's shortcomings: flat difficulty curve, extreme repetitiveness, and lackluster graphics/sounds.

Atari 2600 · by Bob Montgomery (529) · 2007

One of the first platform games out there, still popular to this day

The Good
My first glimpse of Donkey Kong was playing it on a miniature arcade machine that you placed on the kitchen table. Its design mimicked that of the original coin-op, but the graphics and sound were inferior, with simple beeps and tiny sprites. It was the sort of mini arcade that you could take to the bathroom with you and have a game or two while you were doing your business, but I declined to do this as the smell would make its way inside the machine.

The game was released at a time when shoot-em-ups were popular in the arcades. But what makes Donkey Kong stand out from the others is that it is considered one of the first platform games. It was also a first for Shigeru Miyamoto, who went on create the legendary Super Mario series. Donkey Kong was quite popular that the game was ported to virtually every machine that existed at the time, with the NES being the first to get a version.

This version of the game is pretty much faithful to the arcade game. Most of the animations are there, and the sounand music is the same (except for that musical piece on the menu screen). While it's easy to criticize the NES version for lacking several features, such as the “How High Can You Get?” screen and the cement factory, you have to keep in mind that there is limited storage space on the cartridges the games are d stored on. (I believe that NES cartridges only hold 4MB, while the coin-op holds much more than that.)

Donkey Kong was one of the first games where it is easy to get a really high score that no one can achieve, if you know the strategy to beat the more difficult levels later on. Although you get points by rescuing your girlfriend from the big ape, there are a lot more bonus points to be gained by getting her belongings and smashing obstacles with a hammer. The more levels you advance, the higher these items are. So far, the furthest I got was level three.

The Bad
I can't think of anything bad about the game.

The Bottom Line
Donkey Kong is considered one of the first platform games, and the NES received one of the first ports. Aside from a few differences, it is very much faithful to the original coin-op in terms of graphics and sound. The game can be used to top your previous high score every time, or it's good to have a blast at it after you get home from work.

NES · by Katakis | カタキス (43087) · 2017

A good game, but could be better...

The Good
ColecoVision's Donkey Kong had good graphics, nice gameplay and good sound effects. It was the first Donkey Kong coin-op conversion in the world. Because Coleco acquired DK rights from Nintendo, it released several versions of the game in Western hemisphere, like Intellivision and Atari 2600. ColecoVision's version had sound effects more realistic and similar to arcade than the japanese Famicom (NES) one.

The Bad
Unfortunately, like NES' version, the ColecoVision one had only three levels, lacking the Pie Factory. Did Nintendo make this on purpose?

The Bottom Line
ColecoVision Donkey Kong is a good game, but would be better if it included the Pie Factory, as Arcade and GB versions did. However, it's worth to play it on ColecoVision!

ColecoVision · by Gustavo Henrique dos Santos (97) · 2014

Great Graphics Don't Make Up For Horrible Gameplay

The Good
Donkey Kong for the 2600 has surprisingly great graphics. Coleco did an excellent utilizing the consoles hardware to its fullest and making some relatively high-res graphics. For a console notoriously known for being graphically horrible, Donkey Kong is a nice surprise.

The Bad
The graphics don't make up for the fact that gameplay is incredibly difficult and frustrating. I understand input options are very limited on the 2600. The joysticks are not designed for platform gameplay. But response time on the button presses is slow, which means you have to time your jumps even more so than at the arcade. Otherwise it leads to a fit of rage involving chucking the console at the TV over losing your last life so close to the top of the level.

The Bottom Line
I'm not sure if the 2600 version of Donkey Kong in a true port of the original. It's a good attempt to bring the arcade game to the home console, but it's just not designed for this hardware. Nice try Coleco, but Donkey Kong for the Atari 2600 was not the same Donkey Kong from the arcade.

Atari 2600 · by Mullet of Death (592) · 2008

A timeless classic

The Good
If you were wandering through your local arcade in the early Eighties, you would have probably found a classic gem called Donkey Kong. My first glimpse of the game was the tabletop version by Coleco, which contained inferior hardware and featured basic graphics, different sounds, and no animations whatsoever. Then I remember getting the version for my Commodore 64 made by Ocean, which is so faithful to Nintendo’s original coin-op. The game was responsible for introducing us to the Big N’s two major characters – Mario and Donkey Kong – who would eventually say good-bye to each other and feature in their own individual series.

The setting is a construction area consisting of four separate screens, which include construction site, cement factory, elevator level, and finally the rivet level. No matter what screen you’re on, the object is the same: jump over barrels, trays of cement, and fireballs - or use a hammer on them - while making your way to the top. Once there, both Mario and Pauline are together for a few seconds until the gorilla carries her off to the next screen. On the fourth screen, you also have to remove all the rivets by walking over them. Along the way, Mario can grab items belonging to Pauline, such as hats, parasols, and purses for bonus points. Let the bonus counter run out or collide with an enemy, and Mario will lose a life. The game ends when there are no lives left.

The artwork around the cabinet, featuring the main characters, is well designed, and the graphics and animations are impressive. The background music consists of small loops that never grow tired. The “How High Can You Get?” intermission encourages players to have ”just one more go”, not only to get a lot further than their previous game, but also to make their mark on the high score table. The controls are simple, with a joystick used to direct Mario and the one button to jump.

The Bad
Just like most home ports, the coin-op version punishes players who don’t go far enough, denying them access to some levels. On level one, you don’t get to play the cement factory or elevator levels. On level two, only the elevator level is unlocked, and on level three, all four screens are playable. Also, there is a limited amount of time in which you can destroy obstacles with the hammer, but I don’t think this is long enough, even on the earlier levels.

The Bottom Line
Donkey Kong is a popular game that requires you to make your way to the top of the screen to rescue the damsel-in-distress, while avoiding the obstacles that come your way. The graphics, animation, and sound is excellent, but the major disadvantage is the way the game omits some screens on the earlier levels. Official ports and clones were released for a multitude of platforms, and each platform also has its own drawbacks.

Arcade · by Katakis | カタキス (43087) · 2022

The unfinished work

The Good
The Famicom version is probably the best portage of the arcade game. The graphics and musics are pretty similar to the original and it is really funny to play, especially if you tried the Atari 2600 and Intellivision versions. If you always use your 8-bit console, or if you are a collector, this is definitely the cartridge you need.

The Bad
The game contains only three levels instead of five.

The Bottom Line
This is the adaptation of the arcade game Donkey Kong Super Famicom. A very fun and original game, but unfortunately incomplete.

NES · by Wave Magatama (3) · 2016

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Alsy, Belboz, Tim Janssen, S Olafsson, Big John WV, Patrick Bregger, Scaryfun, Jo ST, CalaisianMindthief, Sciere, Victor Vance, chirinea, Juanjo, RhYnoECfnW, ☺☺☺☺☺, Riemann80, Hello X), Jeanne, Alaka, Jacob Gens, lights out party, Wizo, Rellni944, LordAndrew, jumpropeman, yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy), samsam12, Ritchardo, Lampbane, Hipolito Pichardo.